Marriage is the best blessing I’ve ever been given by God. And when I say God gave it, I mean it. There is no way on earth Garrett and I ever should have ended up together. I was the good Christian girl from Oregon, and he was the rebellious teenager from Georgia. And yet, God brought us both to our knees and then lead us to Utah to heal and grow, and we found ourselves unable to escape each other and this “soul-pull” that we had.
Like all couples, we had our struggles. Both of us carried past pains into our relationship and it took time for both of us to be on the same page. Marriage was always the goal, but we still had to work through our emotional trauma. There was fear that we would be stuck, fear that we would be abused again, and difficult times where I had to lay down my desire to be married sooner and let Garrett realize my love for him was pure and that I would wait however long we needed to. I would fight for him.
Our relationship inspired a song that the band has been playing for the last few months titled “By My Side.” It’s not recorded yet, I’m sorry, but one day soon! Here are some of the lyrics from the original write:
“Never thought that I’d still be needing you right now, I wanted to let go. I was hiding that I was scared to be with you but now I’m asking: stay with me. Just be right here. I need you close ’cause you’re my atmosphere. I know it’s tough to see the best in all the arguments but I will remember all the laughs and choose to love you better. I’ll fight for you until you realize no matter what comes our way I will fight to keep you by my side.”
In our relationship, we’ve had to prove to each other that we would be different, be a safe place. We’ve had to fight to stay by each others’ side through all of the fear and the disagreements. Sometimes it was tough, but we chose to remember what we really meant to each other and all of the fun times we’d had. God brought us together, but it was our choice to fight for each other.
That song has been one of my favorites to sing, and all the people we’ve played it for has enjoyed it but so far no one has said much about it. Maybe because our music is so loud it’s hard to understand what I’m singing, or maybe because it didn’t impact them. But it’s my first love song I’ve ever written, and I’m proud of it!
A few weeks ago we found ourselves towards the end of our Europe tour in the country of Cyprus. It’s an island in the Mediterranean sea with beautiful sunsets and more cats than people. I found myself at home there, and I loved getting to explore and enjoy the warm sun and ocean breeze. I’ve always found myself very happy whenever I’m by the ocean. Plus, cats never hurt!
The guys got a chance to play beach volleyball with some of the people from Calvary Chapel Paphos, the local church we were serving. They had a lot of fun and made some epic hits and saves. I was super proud of how well my husband did. Plus I think he’s hot in a swimsuit. We also explored the local archealogical park and found a tunnel to climb in.
Our last night we played by the Paphos Castle at the harbor. We held two rock shows where we shared our music and shared the Gospel to anyone who came. Our second concert was going on during sunset, and one of the attendees stopped and took this picture of us. I met a couple from England that was in Cyprus on holiday and stopped to listen to our music. They were Christians and thought our ministry was a really cool thing and found us on Amazon while we were playing.
But one of my favorite parts of the trip was playing at a cafe called Sykaminia. The first time we did I wasn’t feeling well, but I pushed through and we had a great show just a couple days later. Afterwards I saw Garrett talking to an older gentleman, and he was asking Garrett about the book of Revelation. Garrett brought me into the conversation since I had recently read that book, and we began talking.
This man’s name was Michael, and he had heard the very end of our set the first day we were at Sykaminia and came back to hear us again. And when we played By My Side and heard the words to the song about marriage, he started crying. He talked to Garrett and I afterwards and shared that he had recently buried his wife of 38 years after she had lost a battle with cancer.
We talked to him for over an hour, sharing what we believed and encouraging him. He said he believed in Jesus and his teachings, but wasn’t sure he could believe in God because he was struggling with why God would let a bad thing like cancer happen. It was difficult conversation, and we tried answering as best we could all of his questions about what we believed. At the end of the conversation we prayed with him and thanked him for sharing his story.
Our whole trip in Europe was very uneventful. We shared the Gospel and people walked away, but no one that we saw was radically saved. But the whole tour for me was worth it for this one conversation with Michael. Though he didn’t aim to start believing in God, he saw that we were different. He appreciated that we shared instead of forced. And he encouraged us to keep going and enjoy the marriage we have.
I never thought my song would be a way to minister to people. I wanted to encourage them in their marriages and give them hope in the dark times, but this man spoke to us because we reminded him of the good times in his marriage. He reminded me to the truth of this song, to be crazy and make as many memories as we can. Even though there is bad in this world, we still encouraged one man and gave him hope in the midst of his darkness. Michael, we remember you. And we will keep praying for you.